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Archive for the ‘Drama’ Category

Collateral

Monday, January 24th, 2005

First off I gotta say, Michael Mann is what you call overrated. What did he do, fucking Miami Vice – some asshole who forgot to shave fighting drug dealers in a pink shirt and no socks – we’re supposed to give the guy a fucking medal? I mean yeah it seemed like a pretty good tv show at the time but it’s not the fucking Parthenon. You belong to the city, you belong to the night. Let’s be a little more humble there, Michael Mann.

(To be honest I’m not sure what the Parthenon is, but what I mean is something good enough to last the ages and always stand as a proud beacon of achievement, etc. i.e. not Everybody Loves Raymond or even Miami Vice.) (read the rest of this shit…)

Million Dollar Baby

Thursday, January 6th, 2005

Hi, everyone. “Moriarty” here with some Rumblings From The Lab…

You know why I don’t pay attention to Oscar talk? Because it reduces an entire quarter of every year to a horse race. People don’t talk about the merits of movies. They talk about whether or not they’ve “got what it takes to win.” They pit films against each other. People start digging trenches and getting nasty about their team. And inevitably, the films that mean the most to me from a given year aren’t the ones that have the giant campaigns or the marketing muscle. So instead of getting all worked up and expending dozens of column inches to explain to you why someone else’s opinion is wrong, I’ll just stick to my own personal opinions of a film’s merits for the two hours I’m in a theater, and fuck the Oscars.

While I wasn’t knocked out by Clint Eastwood’s latest, I think it’s a nice little film, sincere and unadorned for the most part. When I got in this review from Vern, who is a raving Clint Eastwood fanatic, I figured it would be nice to run it as the film starts its expansion from limited release on Friday. Check this out:

Boys,

Just to prove that I don’t ONLY watch straight to video Steven Seagal movies (just mostly), I thought I’d send you my review of the latest from Clint Eastwood, America’s Badass Laureate. I know MILLION DOLLAR BABY is already playing in a few hotshot Oscar qualification type cities but I was lucky to see it before its official release here. In my parts this is early. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Aviator

Friday, December 31st, 2004

In this new movie from Martin Scorsese (THE KING OF COMEDY), Scorsese’s young companion Leonardo Dicaprio plays an aviator. I was surprised to find that it was not just any aviator he was playing, it was actually Howard Hughes, the famous rich guy who peed in jars, wore kleenex boxes for shoes, etc. It turns out he not only grew his fingernails long and made a giant plane, he also was a movie director and producer. Which is probaly why Scorsese is interested in him.

After a brief origin story (explaining how a childhood incident led to his obsessive compulsive powers) the movie starts out with young rich boy Hughes, having inherited his parents’s drillbit company, making the world war one flying ace movie HELL’S ANGELS. He actually bought “the world’s largest private air force” and after years of disastrous (3 fatalities, 3 million dollars spent) shooting made a movie with the most spectacular aerial scenes ever produced (I guess. I haven’t really seen it. I am a phoney). THE AVIATOR gets alot of entertainment mileage out of portraying him as this crazy rich boy with a vision. Everybody thinks he’s nuts including his right hand man John C. Reilly. But he’s gonna spend his money how he wants to and he’s gonna make a god damn movie. This part of the movie I was thinking it reminded me a little bit of that movie where Johnny Depp plays Ed Wood. Then all the sudden Howard goes to ask a favor from Mr. Mayer of MGM… and it’s the same fuckin guy that Ed Wood tried to get a movie deal from! Same exact dude. Plus both movies have a score by Howard Shore. It’s like all the stars are lining up or something. There is no significance to it though in my opinion. Let’s get off of this tangent I guess. (read the rest of this shit…)

Unstoppable

Wednesday, December 29th, 2004

First, a haiku:

Enormous talent
Piddled away on this shit
Why, Wesley Snipes, why?

Wesley Snipes IS Unstoppable. And by that I don’t mean that he stars in some crappy straight to video action movie called UNSTOPPABLE, although that is also true. What I mean is, no amount of cinematic crappiness can completely extinguish Wesley Snipes’s fire. The guy is great in everything he does, from Spike Lee dramas to vampire movies. He’s great in all 3 BLADE movies, even though the third one isn’t as good. He’s great in that movie where he played a drag queen named Noxzema Jackson. He’s great in his cameo as a crackhead in ZIG ZAG. He’s great in the bad Walter Hill prison boxing movie UNDISPUTED (see above). And he’s great in this terrible straight to video action movie where he’s a traumatized veteran who gets injected with a drug that makes him think he’s back in the shit during the Bosnia conflict. (read the rest of this shit…)

Sideways

Sunday, December 26th, 2004

So there’s these two middle aged dudes, Miles (Paul Giamatti) and Jack (some dude from a sitcom they used to have). Jack is an ex-soap star who’s about to get married, Miles is a depressed middle school english teacher who can’t get his novel published and is obsessed with wine. Together they have to stop a criminal mastermind who is poisoning the wine supply in the San Fernando valley and turning wine drinkers into an army of zombies.

Actually I made that last part up but what it’s actually about is they go on a trip into wine country the last week before the wedding. The idea is for Miles to show Jack “a good time” which to him means going around tasting wine and showing off that you know how the grapes were grown and what year it is and stupid crap like that. I mean in this movie you got people talking on and on about Pino this and 1961 is peaking and all this shit, they might as well be talking backwards, you got no idea what these idiots are blabbing about. Except when they start talking about how fragile the grapes are or something, and it is obviously a parallel to their own emotional state or their dreams or something. But I’m sorry, metaphors are not a good enough excuse for that kind of talk. Anyway, it works for the movie because they are good characters. You are not supposed to think their wine talk is cool. (read the rest of this shit…)

Day of the Wolves

Friday, December 17th, 2004

One of Richard Stark’s most ambitious Parker novels is The Score (aka Killtown) where Parker, Grofield and a bunch of other thieves team up to knock over an entire mining town. It would make a great movie, and it already made some french movie called Mise à sac that is not available to mere americans. Day of the Wolves isn’t based on The Score but it sounded similar enough that I thought I should check and be sure. Anything to help out my man Richard Stark.

I gotta warn you, unless somebody decides to put this one out on dvd, I don’t know if anybody else is gonna find it. It’s one of those mysterious dust-covered tapes you find, recorded in EP mode, real bad full frame transfer. Movie you never heard of, director you never heard of, big cast of actors you never seen before, real low production values. The only major connection between this movie and my world is that the cinematographer, when I looked him up, turned out he did three of my favorite Steven Seagal pictures (MARKED FOR DEATH, OUT FOR JUSTICE and ON DEADLY GROUND). But let’s face it, you don’t watch Steven Seagal movies for the cinematography, or at least I don’t. So this movie is a mystery find. And usually those finds don’t amount to much. But this is one of the better ones. (read the rest of this shit…)

Southern Comfort

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2004

Okay, this group of National Guardsmen (Peter Coyote, Powers Boothe, Keith Carradine, Fred Ward, others) are on one of them training exercises, right? Basically, they gotta go out into the Louisiana swamp with a map, try to locate this one particular place. To practice their navigation skills. Most of them aren’t taking the job too seriously, paying more attention to their plans to hook up with some whores when they’re done. I mean they’re carrying guns, but with blanks, because who are they gonna shoot at anyway. There’s no enemy in this exercise.

And then they get to some water, and they realize either they’re reading the map wrong or the water has shifted and the chunk of land they’re supposed to find is now a chunk of underwater. (read the rest of this shit…)

I ♥ Huckabees

Wednesday, October 13th, 2004

I’m not 110% sure but I think there may be a new movement poking its head out from over the Hollywood hills. Only a few years ago it was unimaginable that a Hollywood studio would make an entertainment-oriented movie with recognizable stars but also with a premise so weird and convoluted that it is hard to even explain. Then all the sudden there was this movie starring John Cusack and Cameron Diaz and it was about how there’s a door hidden inside an office building that you can go through and you will be able to control John Malkovich and make him quit acting to become a puppeteer. Then also there was the movie by the same director and writer where Nicolas Cage played twin brothers who try to write a movie based on a non-fiction book about collecting rare orchids but they can’t do it and instead write the movie that you are actually watching about twin brothers who try to write a movie based on a non-fiction book about collecting rare orchids but they can’t do it so instead they write the movie that you are actually watching. (read the rest of this shit…)

Man on Fire

Wednesday, October 13th, 2004

I gotta question I was wondering about. If you had to choose one Scott brother that was better (or not as bad), which would it be, Ridley or Tony? On one hand, Tony has never made a truly great movie like ALIEN or, you know, BLADE RUNNER is a good one too in my opinion. Both by Ridley. Tony’s got nothing on that level. But on the other hand, Tony has a couple okay movies: TRUE ROMANCE and CRIMSON TIDE are both pretty okay. I’m looking on IMDB here and– okay wait a minute, Tony Scott did TOP GUN? I forgot about that one. Never mind. I guess I choose Ridley. Congratulations on this great achievement, Ridley. I remember you seemed pretty pissed off that you didn’t get the best director Oscar for that corny gladiator movie you made. Maybe this great honor will cheer you up. Way to go, champ.

So I guess that makes Tony the underdog here, and he had one this year called MAN ON FIRE that seemed to show some promise as a film of Badass Cinema. Academy Award Winner Denzel Washington (“You shot me in the ass!”) plays an alcoholic ex-CIA killer guy who’s hard up for work so he becomes a bodyguard for a little girl in South America. People get kidnapped there more often than they don’t get kidnapped, so next thing you know she gets stolen and this motherfucker stops at nothing to get her back and/or torture, maim and murder the people responsible. And I don’t know if you ever saw the poster for this one but it was real good. No collage or nothing, just one giant picture of Denzel wearing a suit and sunglasses, looking real tough. Behind him you see nothing but fire and smoke, and he’s standing half way in front of this little girl, holding out one hand in front of her, and she’s wearing a private school uniform and hugging a teddy bear. (You know, for emphasis.) It’s like Chow Yun Fat with the baby on the HARD BOILED poster, only 9 years later. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Manson Family

Friday, October 1st, 2004

About a month ago I saw this movie DEADBEAT AT DAWN, a sleazy, gorey student film about lowlife THE WARRIORS style gang members stabbing each other and robbing armored cars and spinning nunchucks in the cemetery. The director and star was Jim Van Bebber, who seemed a little bit too into shock value but I thought he was still likable. His movie is corny and amateurish as hell but it has alot of conviction. This guy is swinging on ropes and jumping off bridges and piling on the hideous gore effects like nobody’s business. It’s one of those things where you don’t really love the movie but the guy’s obvious dedication to getting it done sort of elevates it. It’s about the journey, man.

Usually a guy like this, they go on to make bigger and better movies and become well known and respected, or more likely they go on to make slicker but much worse movies and then their career fizzles out and you forget you ever thought they had any potential. It’s hard to say where Van Bebber is headed though because since he finished DEADBEAT in 1988 he never bothered to sell out to Hollywood or get stuck signing deals that never amount to anything. Since then he has spent almost his entire career on one other movie, CHARLIE’S FAMILY. Another raw, fiercely independent, ten thousand miles away from Hollywood kind of low budget movie. This time it’s about the Manson family, it has some of the same cast but Van Bebber plays family member Bobby instead of the lead. (read the rest of this shit…)